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Help Superbug widespread in India????
News channel claims superbug could be widespread in India

An independent research carried out by Tom Clarke, science correspondent of Channel 4, along with Timothy Walsh — one of the authors of the controversial article in The Lancet Infectious Diseases journal that highlighted the presence of superbugs in India — said that of the 100 samples collected from sewers across Delhi, NDM-1 bacteria was detected in 11 samples. “The study provides a crude snapshot of the presence of the bacteria outside hospitals, but it suggests NDM-1 in gut bacteria like Escherichia coli may be widespread among people in Indian cities and perhaps elsewhere.”

“It suggests NDM is spread all over Delhi and people are carrying (these bacteria) as part of their normal flora,” Professor Walsh of the University of Cardiff said. Evidence that the superbug was present outside hospitals means that efforts to contain it — which have been partially successful for bugs like Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) — may fail. However hard hospitals try to contain infections, they will be continually reintroduced from people bringing the infection into the hospital, the nine-minute news clip said.

The Channel 4 investigation has also revealed that 64 cases of the superbug have been reported in the United Kingdom and there have been five superbug-related deaths. Since it was first identified in 2007, patients infected with the bacteria have been found in 16 countries worldwide. The bacteria, which has been linked to patients treated in hospitals in the Indian sub-continent, is resistant to nearly all antibiotics.

“The number of cases we have seen in the U.K. is quite small,'' David Livermore, director of Antibiotic Resistance Monitoring & Reference Laboratory at the Health Protection Agency in London said in the news clip. “But we are importing bacteria with this type of resistance particularly from the Indian sub-continent, and when you look at population flows, it looks likely we will continue to import more and more. The fear is that they will get traction within U.K. hospitals and will spread from patient to patient,” Dr. Livermore added.

The threat is from bacteria carrying a type of antibiotic-resistance, called NDM-1 enzyme, which has been found in common bacteria like E.coli, a cause of routine infections after surgery or procedures like kidney dialysis.

Channel 4 also said that collaboration between Indian and British scientists has been halted after direct intervention by Indian health authorities. None of the scientists of the earlier study, the TV channel contacted in India, spoke except Jayanta Sarma, who has returned to the the U.K. to work for the National Health Service in Northumberland. He said: “I am ashamed of the Indian government's reaction.”
Airtel Digital HD Recorder / Kerala Vision Digital TV
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Superbug fallout: Antibiotics ‘on counter sale’ ceased
Saturday, Oct 30, 2010, 9:00 IST

Antibiotics are substances that kill or cease the growth of harmful-disease-causing bacteria

The drug controller general of India (DCGI) on Friday introduced new rules to buy antibiotics. According to the revised rules, a patient will need two copies of a prescription - one which will be in the chemist's custody.

"Doctors prescribing powerful antibiotics for common ailments will know that they can be pulled up because a copy of the prescription will be given to the chemist who will have to keep it for a year, and will be used for audits," IBNLive quoted Surinder Singh, Drug Controller General of India, as saying.

The DCGI's decision comes in the wake of the Superbug scare - after the NDM1 (New Delhi metallo-beta-lactamase 1) was found to be resistant to even the most powerful antibiotics, and is aimed at nipping the problem of antibiotic abuse in the bud.

Antibiotics are substances that kill or cease the growth of harmful-disease-causing bacteria. In the UK they are only prescribed to patients after various antibody screening tests based on the sensitivity and resistance profile, which differs for every individual.

An over-or-wrong use can lead to lasting drug-resistance in patients, which would in turn, make them more susceptible to infections.

Antibiotics can cause side effects too.Under allergic conditions a person can develop an anaphylactic reaction, go into shock and die.Other antibiotic side effects include nausea and diarrhoea, abdominal pain, liver toxicity, brain and kidney damage or even pseudomembranous colitis. Thus, a judicious and controlled use of antibiotics was the prime agenda before the DCGI.

While antibiotics were not allowed to be sold over-the-counter before, without a prescription, under Schedule H of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act and Rules, this was hardly implemented. Now, the Union ministry of health placed antibiotics under a separate schedule, H1.

Further, a new schedule called HX will soon be added to the drugs and cosmetics act to keep a check on antibiotics and habit-forming drugs. This will include -antibiotics, anti-TB drugs, habit-forming drugs like Corex and Phensedyl cough syrups, sedatives and anti-anxiety drugs such as Diazepam and Alprax.

About 70 drugs including antibiotics will come under the new Schedule HX. Violators will be punished with a fine of Rs20,000 or upto two years imprisonment.

According to a senior health ministry official, there are about 500 'prescription'drugsunder Schedule H, including antibiotics. Having a sub-regulation was discussed to make the enforcement stringent. The proposal has now been sent to the Union health ministry for approval.

Government is also likely to come out with a comprehensive policy by next month on the use of antibiotics which include setting up of a task force and involvement of NGOs for enforcement of regulations. The health ministry is considering a separate colour code for high-end antibiotics needed only in tertiary care. "This will make it easy to identify the high-end antibiotics," said the health official.

At a meeting last week, presided over by director general of health services (DGHS), Dr RK Srivastava, and attended by experts from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), National Centre for Communicable Diseases (NCDC), Hinduja Hospital, Mumbai, and other institutes, a range of measures were discussed to regulate the use of antibiotics in the country.

Experts have also recommended separate sets of antibiotics depending on the disease - meaning mild ones for out-patient and emergency patients and strong and high-end antibiotics for those under intensive care.

The idea behind the drug controller general of India's latest move is to curb overuse of antibiotics.

Airtel Digital HD Recorder / Kerala Vision Digital TV
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